Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 41, Issue 14, pp 4561–4567 | Cite as

Material-specific contrast in the ESEM and its application in dentistry

  • N. Franz
  • M. O. Ahlers
  • A. Abdullah
  • H. HohenbergEmail author


The Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM) equipped with a Gaseous Secondary Electron Detector (GSED) was used to image and analyze materials of different density, composition and structure applied in dentistry. Under ESEM conditions (at a H2O vapor pressure of 1–10 Torr) the hydrated surfaces of native teeth, which were coated with different polymers, generated a topographic and also a material specific contrast. The backscattered (BSE) and the secondary (SE) electrons involved into the imaging process produced a cascade-dependent mixed signal at the GSED. The material-specific contrast, generated by the BSE cascade, depends mainly on the atomic number z of the investigated material. The topographic contrast is based principally on the SE cascade. For the exact differentiation of the specific signal components inside of the ESEM, we additionally used a backscattered electron detector (BSED), the application of which allowed us to detect pure BSEs and no signals from cascade-dependent electrons. Conventional scanning electron microscopy (CSEM) used to investigate and image the structures of teeth and applied dental materials needs time-consuming and often artifact-inducing preparation steps before the partially hydrated specimen can be investigated, whereas the ESEM technology permits the imaging of hydrated organic structures with no prior specimen preparation. In the ESEM the interfaces between the hydrated organically structured tooth surfaces and the artificially applied polymer materials with its specific bond characteristics can be analyzed very fast and repeatedly (e.g. after etching series) at a reproducible high quality level.


Tooth Surface Environmental Scan Electron Microscope Enamel Surface Composite Interface Environmental Scan Electron Microscope Imaging 



The authors wish to acknowledge Dr. R. Reimer for technical support and reading the manuscript. This study was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)-grant 2075/1-1 and Norbert Franz was supported by the DFG-grant 2075/1-2. The Heinrich-Pette-Institute is supported by Bundesministerium für Gesundheit and the Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg.


  1. 1.
    Muscariello L, Rosso F, Marino G, Giordano A, Barbarisi M, Cafiero G, Barbarisi A (2005) J Cell Physiol 205:328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Fletcher AL, Thiel BL, Donald AM (1997) J Microsc 196:26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Stokes DJ, Rea SM, Best SM, Bonfield W (2003) Scanning 25(4):181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Watt GR, Griffin GR, Kinny PD (2000) Am Mineral 85:1784CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Durkin R, Shah JS (1993) Microscopy 169:33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Danilatos GD (1990) Adv Elect Electron Phys 78:1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Fletcher AL, Thiel BL, Donald AM (1997) J Phys D 30:2249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Reimer L, Pfefferkorn G (1973) Raster-Elektronenmikroskopie. Springer, Berlin, pp 41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Fletcher AL, Thiel BL, Donald AM (1999) J Microsc 196:26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Watt GR, Griffin BJ, Peter Kinney D (2000) Am Mineral 85:1784CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Danilatos GD (2000) Microsc Microanal 6:21Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hickel K-H, Kunzelmann P, Lambrechts J, Peridãgo G, Vanherle B, Van Meerbeek R, Frankenberger J, Munck DE (2001) Die Adhesivtechnologie 3M ESPE AG 1:40Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Van Meerbeck B, Inokoshi S, Braem M, Lambrechts P, Vanherle G (1992) J Dent Res 71:1530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kanca J (1996) Am Dent Assoc 123:35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Walshaw FR, McComb D (1994) J Dent Res 73:1079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Mitchem JC, Gronas DG (1991) J Prosthet Dent 66:619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Griffin BJ (1998) Microsc Microanal 4:290Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Franz
    • 1
  • M. O. Ahlers
    • 2
  • A. Abdullah
    • 2
  • H. Hohenberg
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Electron Microscopy and Micro-Technology GroupHeinrich-Pette-InstituteHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Restorative and Preventive DentistryUniversity Hospital EppendorfHamburgGermany

Personalised recommendations